Cateye 2011 lights - First look

New night time racing and commuting lights for 2011

Given we’ve only just passed the longest day of the year, it may seem a little premature to be thinking about bike lights. Nonetheless, we have a selection of the latest Cateye products that may make it onto your wish list later in the year.

The Japanese manufacturer was founded in Osaka, Japan and has produced bike lights and cycle computers for over 50 years. Brand new for 2011 is the Sumo 2 which, given its heft (265g without a mount), lives up to its name. With twin LEDs kicking out 1000 lumens, it’s aimed squarely at night time racers. It can be fitted to your bars or helmet, and both mounts are included in the £299.99/US$450 price tag.

Cateye Sumo 2

Cateye claim the DNA modes (Dynamic/Normal/All-night) will give you 1.5, 4 and 10 hours of run time respectively, while a flashing mode will apparently last 30 hours. The power comes from a beefy 330g battery that is attached to the top or down tube and takes five hours for a full charge. At almost 600g for the set, it’s got its feet firmly in the off-road market, and will go on sale later this year.

At the other end of the light market, the Jido (£34.99/US$30) is billed as the ultimate commuter light, reflected in the 60 hour run time (flash mode) from a full charge (this is reduced to 30 hours in constant mode). It’s powered by four AA batteries, which light five LEDs. Its key feature is a sensor which automatically switches the light on when dusk and movement are detected. It also switches itself off during the day time and at rest (it can be manually switched on and off too).

Cateye Jido

Those wanting to get all the bases covered may want to check out the LED Cycle Light Set (£59.99). Consisting of the Econom front and the Rapid 3 rear light, it has a claimed running time of 100 hours in flashing mode (reduced to 7 and 20 hours for high and low intensity modes). As with all lights here, the set comes with the necessary mount. The rear Rapid 3 lasts for up to 80 hours and requires one AA battery, which is included.

Cateye LED Cycle Light Set - Econom front light and the Rapid 3 rear light

The small Rapid 1 front and rear lights look a solid choice for city commuting, and are sold individually for £29.99/US$35 each. USB rechargeable on a claimed four hour cycle, they can run for up to 40 hours on a full charge (front light in flashing mode).

Rapid 1 front light

The Rapid 5 (£29.99/US$30) is a rear light designed for all-round visibility. The brightest of its five LEDs is housed in the centre, while four side LEDs shoot light out at a 50 degree angle. Run times are claimed to be 15/50/100 hours on Constant/Pulse/Flashing modes. A rear mount is included, but for an additional £11.99 you may want to opt for the saddle mount bracket.

Rapid 5 rear light

Cateye’s NanoShot (US$120 target) is still in the prototype phase with a planned release later this fall; it’s a tiny light that offers a 250 lumen high beam with additional low and flashing settings, 3.5 hour burn time on high, and is rechargeable through its USB port. Cateye’s Bill Peck said he’s taken the NanoShot on off-road night rides and found it plenty capable. “It’s tiny and the light output is great,” said Peck. “I’ve actually been trail riding with it and the beam pattern it produces is really good. That particular light isn’t compatible with out helmet mount, but the production version will be. So think about it, you drop $240 and put one of these lights on your bar and one on your helmet and have a pretty good night riding system with 500 lumens of light for almost no weight.”

Cateye's prototype USB rechargeable NanoShot

All products will go on sale later this year. For more information visit the Cateye website.

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